Four Former Razorbacks Drafted
FAYETTEVILLE - Four former Razorbacks and 13 players coached by current members of the Arkansas coaching staff were drafted during the 2013 NFL Draft, held over a three-day period at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Running back Knile Davis was the first Razorback off the board, taken by Kansas City in the third round Friday evening. Quarterback Tyler Wilson was next as a fourth-round selection by Oakland and was followed by wide receiver Cobi Hamilton, who was picked by Cincinnati in the sixth round. Tight end Chris Gragg was the final former Razorback drafted when Buffalo took him in the seventh round.
With the four offensive selections, Arkansas tied its second-highest single-draft total behind the record of five set in 1973. In the last three drafts, 10 former Razorbacks have been drafted on offense, which ranks second in the SEC and is the fourth-highest total in the country. Wisconsin leads the country with 12 offensive players taken in the last three drafts, followed by Southern Cal and Alabama tied with 11 each.
Wilson joined Ryan Mallett, who was drafted in 2011 by New England, to make Arkansas one of two schools in the country, and the only SEC school, to have two quarterbacks taken in the last three drafts.
Hamilton's selection made him the fourth wide receiver taken from Arkansas in the last two drafts after the Razorbacks tied a school record with three wide receivers from the same school taken in 2012. Arkansas is the only school in the country with four wide receivers drafted in the last two years.
Davis was taken 96th overall. He appeared in 36 games with 15 starts for during his Arkansas career, rushing 349 times for 1,862 yards and 19 touchdowns and catching 32 passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns. His 21 total touchdowns are tield for 15th on Arkansas' all-time career list. In 2010, he was a first-team All-SEC performer after leading the conference's running backs with 1,322 rushing yards. His rushing yards total ranked as the fourth-highest single-season output in school history and made him the 10th Razorback to post a 1,000-yard rushing season. Also that season, his 6.48 yards-per-carry average led the NCAA among running backs that carried the ball at least 200 times. He was voted a team captain in 2011 and again in 2012 after he missed the entire 2011 season due to an injury.
Wilson was the 112th overall pick. He broke 29 school records and was the first Razorback quarterback to earn first-team All-SEC honors. Among his school records are career passing yards, career completions and career completion percentage. He also has three of the top five single-game completions totals and the top-two spots on the school's single-game passing yards and total offense yards lists. He was 593-of-948 passing for 7,765 yards and 52 touchdowns. He ranked fifth on the SEC's all-time career total offense per play list with an average of 7.30, his career completion percentage of 62.6 was sixth in conference history and his pass efficiency rating of 144.0 was ninth on the SEC's career list.
Hamilton was the 197th overall selection. He caught a school-record 175 passes in his career for 2,854 yards and 18 touchdowns, and his five 10-catch games are the most in school history. In 2012, he received third-team All-America he received he received third-team All-America accolades by the Associated Press, was a unanimous AP first-team All-SEC selection, was voted a first-team All-SEC performer by the conference's coaches and was named a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award as he produced the greatest season by an Arkansas receiver and one of the best seasons in SEC history by a pass catcher. Hamilton broke UA records with 90 catches, tied for the fourth-highest single-season total in SEC history, and 1,335 yards, the fourth-best season in SEC history, and also set a UA single-season mark with five 10-catch games. His average of 111.3 receiving yards per game, which was the seventh-best single-season average in SEC history, led the conference and ranked fifth in the NCAA. Hamilton also topped the SEC and was tied for 14th in the country with an average of 7.5 catches per game. He broke the SEC and Arkansas single-game receiving yards records with 303 vs. Rutgers, tied for the 16th-highest single-game receiving yards total in NCAA history, on 10 receptions with an Arkansas-record-tying three touchdowns.
Gragg, taken 222nd overall, played in 43 games with 20 starts in his career and made 72 receptions for 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns. In 2012, he missed the majority of the season due to an injury, but started all five games he played and ended the year with 22 catches for 289 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. In 2011, Gragg played in all 13 games with eight starts and caught 41 passes, the third-highest total on the team, for 518 yards, which ranked fourth among the Razorbacks, and two touchdowns. His average of 3.2 receptions per game was tied for 11th in the SEC, and his average of 39.8 receiving yards per game ranked 14th in the conference.
Three players coached by current Arkansas coaches were taken in Thursday night's first round. Offensive guard Jonathan Cooper, whose offensive line coach at North Carolina for his first four seasons with the Tar Heels was Sam Pittman, was taken by Arizona with the seventh overall pick, the earliest an offensive guard had been picked since 1986. Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was selected 29th overall by Minnesota after one season under offensive coordinator Jim Chaney at Tennessee, and center Travis Frederick was picked 31st overall by Dallas following four seasons at Wisconsin under head coach Bret Bielema. Frederick's selection made Coach Bielema the only head coach in the NCAA with a first-round offensive line selection in each of the last three drafts. No other head coach in the country has a streak longer than one.
Four more players tutored by the current Razorback coaching staff were taken during the draft's second and third rounds Friday evening. Wide receiver Justin Hunter was the second pick of the round and 34th overall after the Tennessee Titans traded up to draft the former Tennessee Vol, whose coordinator in Knoxville was Coach Chaney. Running back Montee Ball was drafted 58th overall by Denver after he broke the NCAA career touchdown record and won the 2012 Doak Walker Award playing for Coach Bielema. Offensive guard Dallas Thomas, coached at Tennessee by Coach Chaney and Coach Pittman, was drafted 77th overall by Miami. Offensive tackle Brennan Williams from North Carolina became the third Coach Pittman-coached lineman drafted when Williams was taken 89th by Houston.
Six more former players of the current coaching staff were picked Saturday. Wide receiver Chris Harper, whose position coach during his three seasons at Kansas State was Michael Smith, was drafted by Seattle in the fourth round Saturday. Cornerback Brandon McGee was taken in the fifth round by St. Louis and running back Mike James was a sixth-round pick by Tampa Bay after both played at Miami (Fla.) with Randy Shannon as their head coach the first two seasons. Offensive tackle Ricky Wagner, who played five seasons at Wisconsin under Coach Bielema, was picked in the fifth round by Baltimore. Tight end Mychal Rivera was selected in the sixth round by Oakland after playing three years for Coach Chaney at Tennessee. Offensive guard Travis Bond, coached by Coach Pittman for three years at North Carolina, was taken in the seventh round by Minnesota.
Arkansas has had at least one player selected in 18 straight drafts, the second-longest streak in school history. The record for most consecutive drafts with a Razorback picked is 23 from 1965-87. Arkansas has had 185 players drafted all-time.
The current Arkansas coaching staff has coached 153 NFL Draft picks, including 28 first-round selections. Coach BIelema and his nine full-time assistants have had 32 different former players appear in 40 Super Bowls, with 17 winning 20, and two have been named Super Bowl MVP.